Start December with an act of kindness!
Another great idea around the theme of kindness, giving, and gratitude!
"Choose from a list of things that kids can either participate in or do independently. Some of them are geared towards school and daycare, while others are geared towards home, and some of them are as simple as smiling at others, while some — like donating to those in need — are a little more involved."
The holidays are a great time to talk about gratitude! Research is showing us that there are immense benefits to incorporating gratitude exercises into our daily lives. Here are some simple ways to help kids understand and practice gratitude (from the Play Therapy Institute of Colorado: Home of Synergetic Play Therapy).
Happy World Kindness Day! 💕
Empathy is one of my favourite topics.
How can we cultivate empathy in children? Many social-emotional learning programs focus on teaching kids to demonstrate empathy through behaviours and skills. But can true empathy be taught?
Research from Harvard University suggests that we need to go beyond skill-building; it is essential to nurture compassion and help kids see the value of perspective-taking. Check out the link below for 5 helpful tips to cultivate empathy.
"Empathy begins with the capacity to take another perspective, to walk in another’s shoes. But it is not just that capacity. Salespeople, politicians, actors and marketers are often very skilled at taking other perspectives but they may not care about others. Con men and torturers take other perspectives so they can exploit people’s weaknesses. Empathy includes valuing other perspectives and people. It’s about perspective-taking and compassion."
A home can be a busy place! Sometimes kids (and adults) need a small oasis where they can go during a difficult moment to relax and take a break. Check out these suggestions for creating a "calm-down space" in your home!
When we think of postpartum mental health challenges, we often think of depression and sadness. But postpartum issues can present in many ways; people can experience anxiety, rage, or OCD-type symptoms, together with or separate from depression.
If you or someone you know is going through any of these challenges, talk to a doctor, public health nurse, or counsellor. Recognizing the range of postpartum symptoms is the first step in seeking help.
"There’s actually a spectrum of symptoms and illnesses that fall under the umbrella of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. However, because they don’t get the same limelight as depression, women who are struggling with them can feel even more broken, or hesitant to reach out for help."
Like many people, I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week about the “Me Too” movement on social media. I hope the momentum will lead to further conversation and action around boundaries, consent, and trauma caused by harassment and assault.
For those who are not sure what to do next, sexual health education is a great place to focus. In BC, we are lucky to have two amazing sex education gurus, Saleema Noon and Meg Hickling. Together, they have published a new book called Talk Sex Today. Meg Hickling also wrote a fantastic book called The New Speaking of Sex: What Your Children Need to Know and When They Need to Know It. If you are a parent or educator (or both), or anyone who is interested in changing the way we approach these issues, please take a look at these books. Pass them on to friends, teachers, and family members!
The take-home message from these books: It is essential that we start talking to kids about their bodies from preschool age, and that we continue our discussions all the way up through the teenage years. It is important to invite and answer all questions, even when we feel uncomfortable or awkward. We need to raise kids who respect other people’s bodies and have the emotional skills to recognize when they are being hurt and when their actions could hurt other people. This starts with having honest conversations between kids, parents, and educators.
It was moving and heartbreaking to see so many “Me Too” posts. I know there are many people out there who chose not to post, or who were not interested in being a part of yet another viral event, and I understand that too. No matter what your choices around this issue, I hope that we can continue talking about this, not only to change our current culture, but also to encourage more confidence and caring in the next generation.
My favourite new resource!
Mindful Games Activity Cards, created by Susan Kaiser Greenland with Annaka Harris. 55 Fun Ways to Share Mindfulness with Kids and Teens.
These activities are fun, well-designed, and easy to do. Some games are for all ages, others are aimed specifically at younger or older children. The activities are designed around six core life skills: connecting, quieting, seeing, focusing, caring, and reframing.
If you're looking for ways to incorporate mindfulness into your family's daily routine, check these out!